We often forget that HIV/AIDS is not just a growing epidemic on other parts of the globe, but it is also an ever growing crisis that has also been plaguing America since the 1980s.  In 2006 the HIV virus was estimated by the Center for Disease Control to have infected 1.1 million people in the United States with the number of infections growing at a rate of 56,000 more Americans a year.  A recent study, conducted by the World Health Organization, concluded that AIDS is now the leading cause of death and disease for women between the ages of 15 and 44.  International AIDS Charity Avert estimated that there were 2 million children under the age of 15 in the world infected with HIV at the end of 2007. AIDS around the globe, including America, is a growing crisis that we as global citizens need to address.

Washington DC has the highest rate of AIDS of any city in the United States.   It is estimated that one In 33 DC residents is infected with HIV/AIDS giving DC an infection rate of 3%, though the number is believed to be higher.  According to The Washington Post, DC’s infection rate is comparable to San Francisco’s during the height of the AIDS epidemic and has double the infection rate of modern day New York City.  The Center for Disease Control views an infection rate of 1% to be a crisis yet the capital the United States has three times that number.

The nation’s capital is the perfect place to voice our concern and demand an ending to the epidemic, both in DC and abroad. During the start of the Obama administration, many promises regarding AIDS were made. Promises about increased global funding for US Global AIDS programs, access to affordable generic drugs in developing countries, and lifting the federal ban on federal funding of syringe exchange were all broken as none of the promises have materialized.

On December first, World AIDS day, Washington DC will urge the administration to follow through with their promises.  In an effort to inspire the US government to take action against the dire condition of the capital city, and in many places around the globe, DC Fights Back (www.dcfightsback.org), along with other groups including AIDemocracy, will be organizing a march/rally starting in Lafayette Park (the White House) at 12 pm and ending in Freedom Plaza at 2 pm.  The rally hopes to raise awareness of DC’s and the World’s AIDS crisis and inspire policy changes.

Interested in joining the rally? Just show up at the White House at 12pm on December first, OR for more information on joining the AIDemocracy team during the rally, contact Priti@aidemocracy.org.  On Facebook? You can RSVP for the rally and learn more about the issues there, visit: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=187734974082&ref=mf.

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